It’s time for the lasts of things

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Well we have only 11 days left until we finish the calendar for one year.  Of course, this is just an arbitrary date that someone came up with years ago to standardize the way we record time.  So it gives an overinflated importance to a single date but I guess we do need a way to quantify how much time has passed and I guess it makes sense to have a single system.

But it gives you the opportunity to say silly things like “Today is my last day to …”  For example, Tuesday was my last day at work.  Had lots of vacation stored up and, frankly, I’m tired of being at work.  There’s lots of uncertainty and bad vibes and it is just wearing me out.  So I could do the classic “see you next year” as I left.

And tonight is going to be my last dance lesson of this year.  I believe the studio is closed all of next week and, even if they weren’t, JoNY is taking vacation to see her family and she’s out next week as well.  So it is tonight and then nothing until the new year.

On Tuesday, we again went over the new stuff we were doing for Swing and Cha-Cha and then we had a lesson with OwnerGuy to show him the shaping things the coach wanted us to do in Bolero.  This tends to be what happens with coaching lessons.  You pay extra to get advice from someone and then your instructor comes in and modifies certain things.  “Well I know he said to do “x” but what he really meant was for you to do “y”.

I think some of that has to happen.  Unless they tape your lesson, there is a lot said and sometimes, when you come back to it, your memory isn’t perfect and you can’t quite recreate what the coach wanted.  So you get the general gist of it with the fine points maybe more coming from your instructor.

It was all good though.  The main focus is on shaping and really pulling that first basic as far to the left as I can.  Just like the coach, OwnerGuy wanted more so there was more twisting and turning.  As I noticed on the coaching lesson, the shaping does set up the next move much nicer than not shaping.  So there is a reason to get yourself into a pretzel position.

OwnerGuy tried to illustrate that shaping is used in other places and it isn’t always obvious.  Or maybe he was trying to show me that you can apply it even back with basic steps to make the lead stronger.  We did a basic open break and underarm turn in Rumba and he’s quizzing me on what lead the turn.  The obvious answer was raising the arm since that’s how you are taught but I knew it couldn’t be that easy.  See, instead of just raising the arm, you really should be doing a little shaping and just raising the left side of your rib cage which naturally brings the arm up but, because it is all connected, it creates a stronger lead than just flinging your arm up in the air.

This is a concept I’ve struggles with.  They want you to maintain the frame but bring one side up higher than the other.  The easiest thing is to tilt a little bit but that is WRONG!  You don’t want to drop one side and ruin the frame.  So, somehow, you have to find a way to stretch one side up just a little higher all while keeping the other side at a constant level.  They talk about moving the rib cage but it is more about stretching one side just a little.

I’m not even sure which muscle groups are responsible for making this little movement happen.  It does feel a little weird to try and stretch without just jacking your shoulder and arm up.  I know this is something we’ve worked on before and it keeps coming back but just another one of these little dance technique things.  I tell you this dance onion never stops.  There is always another layer to add another little movement to master.  It will always be a work in progress.

Small update on the knee stuff.  Finally got off the phone with the specialty pharmacy and they’ve cleared things with the insurance company but need to confirm something with the doctor’s office.  If all goes to plan, I’ll get my injections late next week and then I have to see when I can fit three appointments in.  The good news is that the knee has been behaving better except when I drive so driving to the studio was no fun.

Oh, and I started to come down with something on Tuesday.  I thought it was going to explode into a full cold but it hasn’t done that yet.  Right now, it is just annoying drainage which started as a scratchy throat and has now moved into an irritating cough.  So we have a various assortment of stuff to take to deal with the various symptoms and irritations.  Debated skipping the lesson but I’ll take some extra cough drops and just hope to avoid prolonged coughing fits.  But what is winter without some nagging little illness to linger on and just generally make you feel run down and sort of crappy.   But, on the bright side, it will be my last cold of the year!!

OK, time to go dance.

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